Lenzie Academy celebrate a ‘special relationship’ which has lasted 25 years

Lenzie Academy German Exchange
Lenzie Academy German Exchange

Pupils, parents and teachers from Scotland and Germany came together last week to celebrate a quarter century of a unique exchange scheme.

The cultural exchange scheme between Lenzie Academy and Staufer-Gymnasium, in the German town of Pfullendorf, was launched 25 years ago and has gone from strength-to-strength ever since.

20 years ago a work experience segment was added for older pupils - allowing them to get a taste of another country’s working life.

Lenzie Academy teacher Margaret Shaw, who arranges the exchange with fellow staff member Sheena O’Grady, said: “It started because a teacher from Lenzie knew a teacher from Staufer-Gymnasium and it all stemmed from that.

“Right away there was a special relationship and a real warmth between the two schools.

“We had 12 of our German colleagues over for a long weekend to mark the anniversary and the headteacher mentioned the special bond we share.

“When you see how everybody gets on you can see why it has lasted for 25 years and will continue for many more.”

The exchange students are looked after by families and enjoy activities organised by both the school and their hosts.

Last Friday saw the pupils join together for a special farewell ceilidh, while previous evenings and outings have included paintball, a disco and trips to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

And they will return home with new skills and experiences, just like their Lenzie counterparts did after their visit to Germany in June.

Margaret explained: “It’s about so much more than language skills. It builds the pupils confidence and creates lifelong friendships.

She added: “I’d like to thank all the employers who give our German pupils work experience, the parents who look after them, and all my colleagues who help out - without all their assistance it would just not be possible to do it.”